Body weight exercises for a fit and toned new you

Body weight exercises are a fun and cost effective way to stay healthy and keep in shape

Vahdaneh Vahid

Published: Updated:

Body weight exercises are a fun and cost effective way to stay healthy and keep in shape. If you don’t have access to gym or prefer working out in the comfort of your own home, this is the way forward.

Below is a list of my 5 favourite functional exercises that can be done anywhere with no equipment necessary.

1. Squats

Squats are a key exercise that target the powerhouse muscle in the body - the glutes and also the thighs. This exercise can be done with your own body weight.


Step 1: Stand with your feet pointing straightforward, hip’s width apart.

Step 2: Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and pull back your shoulder blades.

Step 3: Slowly bend down trying to sit your weight back into your heels.

A good tip is to keep your toes lifted off the floor throughout the exercise, which allows you to target your butt and the back of your legs.

It is ok to allow the knees to come forward slightly past your ankles but the key point is that you feel the burn in your butt and back of your legs rather than just at the front of your thighs

Step 4: Keep your chest lifted and upright and your shoulder blades retracted throughout.


Step 5: As you reach the bottom phase, squat at a 90 degrees (or slightly less if you’re a beginner and lack flexibility).

Step 6: Now, hold this position and whilst you do, tilt your pelvis (hips) under like your tucking your tailbone under.

Step 7: As you do this, it is important that you draw your navel in to activate your core muscles which help stabilize the pelvis through this movement.

Step 8: Now slowly come up. As you do so, it is vital that you allow your knees to straighten first before you finish off the end range of movement of the squat at the top.

Complete 3 sets of 15-20 reputations slowly.

You should feel the burn in your butt, core and the back of your legs.

2. The Wall Push-up

Step 1: Stand with your feet a hips’ distance apart and away from a wall

Step 2: Place your hands on the wall about a chest’s width apart and at shoulder level.

Step 3: Draw your navel in and posteriorly tilt your pelvis in (tucking your hips under).

Step 4: Keep your back elongated and as straight as possible

Step 5: Slowly move your chest towards the wall allowing your torso to follow through, but keep your legs and feet static

It is vital that you keep your navel pulled in throughout this move and do not allow your hips to stag.

Step 6: Push yourself away from the wall to return to the starting position, again keeping your body in perfect alignment.

Perform 3 sets of 15- 20 repetitions each.

3. The Side Lunge

The side lunge targets movement in a lateral plane and also helps stretch and activate the muscles in the lower body.


Step 1: Standing with your feet a hip’s width apart draw your navel in to activate your core muscles.

Step 2: Step out to the side with one leg and push your hip back while keeping the opposite leg straight.

Both toes should remain pointing forward and in contact with the floor.

Keep a good upright posture and while your extend your hips back

Your knee should not go past your ankle as you extend down into the side lunge

Step 3: A good tip is too push through your heel on the bent leg as you extend back up.

Now repeat on the other leg.

Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions each.

4. The Modified Plank

This exercise is far more efficient for working your core (abs) than doing regular crunches as they add to creating a bad posture due to the increased focus on flexing the spine forward.

The modified version of the plank includes the knees remaining placed on the floor.

Step 1: Lie down on your front on the floor, place your elbows in line with your shoulders, bent at 90 degrees.

Step 2: Keep your feet wider apart than your hips.

Step 3: Tuck your pelvis under, draw your navel in and breathe into your into your rib cage.

Step 4: Rest your elbows on the ground as you lift your upped body, so your upper body is resting on your elbows which are bent at 90 degrees.

Step 5: Keep your hips slightly above your shoulders while holding your plank.

It is good to use a mirror to view yourself from the side to check your hips are in the correct place.

You must not hunch your back in this exercise, keep it as straight as possible.

Step 6: Keep your shoulder blades retracted and keep your navel pulled in.

There is not a time limit to this exercise, it is more about how efficiently you can do it without compensating and dipping through your lower back.

5. Squat Jumps

Similar to the squat, we are now adding a dynamic element to get the heart rate going.


Repeat all the steps in exercise 1.

Now at the bottom phase of your squat, immediately jump upwards. Extend your arms straight down as your feet leave the floor.

Land in the same position you started in. Allow your arms to bend at the elbows and immediately repeat the second step.

Try to land softly through the heels without making much noise.

Perform 3 sets of 8-15 reps depending on your fitness level.


Fitness expert Vahdaneh Vahid can be reached on Facebook and Instagram.